Should a Pastor Be Discouraged About His Small Church?

Encouragement for pastors of small churches

Pastors, regardless the pressures you face in your congregation to “produce the numbers,”  focus on caring for souls.  Be faithful to evangelize, preach the gospel every week, pray for conversions, but make sure your primary focus is on caring for souls.  When we stand before God to give an account for the souls of our flock, God will not be concerned with our increased numbers, as much as how faithful we cared for the souls of those that make up that number.

 

I get it.  I pastor what most would say is a small church (about 100 members).  I feel the pressure from certain voices in the American evangelical movement that something is wrong as a result.  For other pastors like me who are feeling this pressure as a result of pastoring a smaller church, there is some helpful counsel for us.  However, I had to find it from outside the American Church scene and from a different century altogether.  The 19th century Scottish pastor and trainer of pastors, John Brown, wrote a letter to one of his students newly ordained over a small congregation and extended this word to him:

I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ at his judgment seat, you will think you have had enough. 

Pastors, regardless the pressures you face in your congregation to “produce the numbers,”  focus on caring for souls.  Be faithful to evangelize, preach the gospel every week, pray for conversions, but make sure your primary focus is on caring for souls.  When we stand before God to give an account for the souls of our flock, God will not be concerned with our increased numbers, as much as how faithful we cared for the souls of those that make up that number.

Brian Croft is Senior Pastor of Auburndale Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He was educated at both Belmont University and Indiana University receiving his B.A. in Sociology. He also undertook some graduate work at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article is from his blog, Practical Shepherding, and is used with permission.